First Aid Injury Highlights the Importance of Hierarchy of Controls

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Savannah River Remediation, Savannah River, SC

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Occupational Safety and Health, Maintenance

This lesson learned discusses a first aid injury and the success of applying Engineering Controls to defend against human error, at the same time revealing a missed opportunity to avoid the event by failing to apply the most effective control, elimination of the hazard.

Using a safety knife to cut a cable tie, a worker incorrectly cut towards his left arm drawing the safety knife across the forearm/wrist, above the cuff of his cut resistant glove. Examination revealed a shallow laceration. The safety design of the utility knife automatically withdrew most of the exposed blade into the handle in the split second before the knife contacted the employee's arm and dramatically lessened the extent of the injury. However, a site requirement on scissor use states that side cutters are required for cutting wire ties. This requirement was not well known or applied by the Construction organization which led to the allowance of safety knives for cutting/removing plastic cable ties. By applying this requirement, the elimination of the hazard would have prevented the injury altogether.

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